Setting OKRs may seem like a simple task: you create an objective, set measurable key results, and start working towards your goals immediately. However, writing good OKRs is, in fact, quite challenging. Many teams struggle to write them, and as a result, their businesses don’t see real progress.
To help you out, we’ve compiled the most important information about successfully implementing the method, along with some relevant OKR examples.
What Are OKRs?
The OKRs definition portrays them as a means of creating measurable goals and bringing everyone in an organization together behind a common mission. In the 1970s, John Doerr created this strategy for the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers. He used OKRs to help them grow into one of Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firms, and then he scaled it across Google. Nowadays, businesses of all sizes use OKRs.
Each OKR’s objective is a broad goal with no deadline, such as “launch product X successfully.” The Key Results explain what you’ll need in order to accomplish that objective and how you’ll know when you’ve completed it. For example, the “launch product X successfully” objective could include Key Results such as “have 300 people registered for the beta” or “generate $10,000 in revenue by September.”
Why Are OKRs Important?
The OKR method helps you in the process of turning good ideas into excellent implementation. You can articulate your goals, set priorities, identify opportunities, and track and measure progress. Moreover, you can use OKRs to align strategies to business goals and compare success across teams. They can also create a culture of continuous improvement and serve as an accountability tool.
There are many approaches to goal management, so you should prepare ahead and think about how you’ll put the OKR framework into action. The usual way is to have the executive team create company-level OKRs. Then they would employ a cascading method, requiring the department heads to link their team OKRs to the overall business goals and then cascade to the next level.
However, this traditional top-down model comes with specific challenges, such as the risk of slowing down the progress. So, when it comes to successfully implementing OKRs, collaboration at every point of the process is essential.
Keep employees engaged and motivated and let them have a clear vision of why they should set and try to accomplish the particular OKRs. Try to invite them to the brainstorming sessions and set ambitious goals together. Everyone will be able to visualize where the organization is moving and align their OKRs in the same direction. This approach will streamline the goal-setting process and enhance employee satisfaction.
Moreover, remember that the OKRs framework emphasizes simplicity and prioritization. A general rule of thumb is to set one or two organizational goals. Get each team to focus on up to three objectives, each with three to four key results. This will ensure that your team’s efforts and initiatives move effectively and in the same direction.
Finally, set up a system of weekly alignment meetings where you’ll review the OKRs and communicate the results. A productive check-in includes constructive feedback, accountability, reporting significant progress, crafting strategic plans, and developing an action plan.
Top OKR Examples
Good objectives and key results keep the team focused on the essential issues and encourage weekly discussions. When your team creates OKRs, they should also have some ideas or plans on how to get them accomplished. Here are some OKR examples to consider to inspire your next brainstorming sessions.
Company OKR Examples
Company Objective 1: Grow our global business.
- Hit a global sales target of $200 million.
- Achieve 100% YoY sales growth in the X geography.
- Increase the average deal size by 30% using upsells.
- Enhance customer service to reduce churn to less than 7% annually.
Company Objective 2: Build an excellent corporate culture.
- Launch an ongoing two-way closed-loop feedback process.
- Maintain a weekly Staff Pulse Score of at least 8.
- Celebrate any type of progress every week.
- Launch a monthly all-hands open Q&A meeting.
Sales Department OKR Examples
Sales Team Objective 1: Improve the team’s sales performance.
- Maintain a sales pipeline of qualified leads valued at least $300,000 per quarter.
- Boost close rate from 20% to 23%.
- Boost scheduled calls per sales agent from one to two per week.
- Grow the average deal size from $10,000 to $12,000.
Sales Team Objective 2: Create higher-quality leads.
- Generate the list of lead metrics and scripted questions to collect in CRM.
- Ensure at least 70% of leads completed obligatory Q&A filled in.
- Automate the data collection from the backend to CRM.
- Redesign the user engagement form by introducing two new screening questions.
Marketing Team OKR Examples
Marketing Team Objective 1: Increase our reach and brand awareness outside of X geography.
- Generate one new thought leadership article weekly.
- Increase newsletter signups by 100 per week.
- Boost website traffic by 15% from the X geography.
Marketing Team Objective 2: Improve customer retention and customer lifetime value (CLV).
- Share 20 customer case studies by September 15.
- Boost email newsletter open rates from 30% to 50%.
- Improve positive mentions from 60 to 90.
Content Marketing Team OKR Examples
Content Marketing Objective 1: Improve our SEO.
- Get 5 inbound links from relevant websites every quarter.
- Improve the internal on-page optimization and improve 15 pages every quarter.
- Enhance our website loading speed.
- Create two recent blog posts a week optimized around strategic keywords.
Content Marketing Objective 2: Create helpful and informative blog articles.
- Interview 100 industry thought leaders.
- Drive 500,000 organic traffic visitors to the blog by March 10.
- Earn 300 PDF downloads by the end of Q1.
Customer Success Team OKR Examples
Customer Success Objective 1: Retain our customers, reducing churn where factors are in our control.
- Conduct post-engagement debriefs for all contracts above $50,000.
- Develop a program to conduct account reviews.
- Achieve average customer retention of 75% annually.
Customer Success Objective 2: Expand customer support coverage to Spanish and Italian to improve customer satisfaction and enhance customer acquisition.
- Hire and onboard four native speakers of each language for phone support by September.
- Expand the automated online support pipeline to each language by September.
- Develop an in-house translation tool to aid non-speakers in simple problem solutions by January.
Engineering Team OKR Examples
Engineering Team Objective 1: Launch new product architecture.
- Have the engineering team contribute X story points.
- Design 4 tests with QA.
- Complete data migration.
Engineering Team Objective 2: Build a top-notch engineering team.
- Offer a $200 reward for referrals.
- Hire three referred engineers by the end of Q1.
- Maintain a 2:1 onsite interview-hire ratio.
Engineering Team Objective 3: Improve the response rate for critical bugs in testing.
- Hire four engineers by April 10.
- Improve response time from 15 to less than 10 minutes.
- Monitor non-essential meetings every two weeks to determine if necessary.
Finance Department OKR Examples
Financial Department Objective 1: Improve the annual budget approval process
- Have a meeting with every VP.
- Review budget proposals before mid-Q1.
- Complete the final budget by February.
Financial Department Objective 2: Improve the financial reporting process.
- Hire a new bookkeeper.
- Implement the cloud-based version of Xero.
- Close our financials within one week of a quarter.
How To Write Your OKRs
A good company objective describes what you’d like to achieve. It should be broad enough to allow teams to design team objectives yet specific enough to ensure everyone knows where they’re going. Before finalizing high-level goals, leadership should solicit feedback from the teams and clarify expectations.
Team objectives should provide the team with purpose, urgency, and focus. Remember that team objectives aren’t projects; they’re problems to solve or improvement possibilities to explore. Ultimately, they should align with the company goal.
In addition to writing an objective, you also need to write key results. While an objective is an issue to solve or an improvement opportunity to investigate, key results are the measurable outcome required to achieve a specific objective. They contain a metric with a target value and measure the progress towards achieving the objective. Ideally, each team would identify two to four key results for each objective.
The Bottom Line
OKR bridges the gap between goal formulation and execution, allowing firms to shift from an output-based to an outcome-based approach to work. The OKR framework aids leaders and their teams prioritize, align, and evaluate their efforts.
Linking company and team objectives to key results helps team members see how their everyday work fits into the broader picture and where they should focus their efforts to improve. Hopefully, these OKRs examples will facilitate the implementation and ensure success.